Sun Kissed by Coco Nichole. Nov. 2015. Softcover/Paperback.
A little over a month ago I was emailed by Coco Nichole regarding reading and reviewing her new book, Sun Kissed, which I readily agreed to after reading the synopsis provided. I was very pleasantly surprised!
The story begins right after Sofia Aguilar has moved from her boarding school in the United States to live with her brother and dying mother in a remote Amazon village. The locals tell of the legend of the Encantados, mythical beings that can transform, control the weather, and enter into the dreams of humans. Sun Kissed takes us on Sofi's journey into this unique legend where we discover more about the mysterious Encantados.
Sun Kissed is a wonderful mixture of fantasy, myth, suspense, and entertainment that proves to be an effortless and enjoyable adventure. There is an exceptional blend of the innocence of youth with the temptations and dangers of the world as we mature. The setting of this story is in a small village in the beautiful South American Amazon and I found it to be a wonderfully refreshing change from many common settings. I loved the mysterious, enchanting Amazon river and the culture of the area. Nichole successfully created a realistic and culturally accurate setting; it's obvious that she did her research and put her heart into this story.
Sofi is a willful young girl with many human qualities that often trip her up and cause her to make mistakes that any normal person would, which made her relatable and understandable. She falls prey to the kind, smooth words of a beautiful man, but also has the sense to realize when things aren't quite right. Out of all the characters, Sofi appears to have experienced the most changes, going from a grumpy, unhappy, and bored teenager to one caught up in the thrill of an old legend and a growing love for her brother and mother.
The rest Nichole's characters are all teasingly diverse and full of life. However, I did feel that the character development was slightly lacking. The characters were unique and had great personalities that defined each one, but they needed a bit more in the developmental area. While the characters do undergo change and have dynamic qualities, these changes appear to be a bit too blunt and random, and I wish that, as the reader, I would have had more of a chance to witness the dynamic change within each person.
I also found this development issues within the plot as well. Before I go further, however, I do want to say that the plot and idea of this story is wonderfully unique and I think Nichole has struck gold with her story. It's refreshing, multicultural, and highly intriguing. Yet, in a manner similar to the character development, I just felt that the plot could have used a bit more explanation. Sun Kissed contained many points where more expansion could have benefited, though Nichole was still successful at developing complex backstories for her characters. I would have loved to hear more about the Encante and some of the things they have done or are capable of doing. They are such an intriguing topic and legend, and I am excited to see what Nichole continues to develop within her story.
Overall, I am giving Sun Kissed three-and-a-half stars for its magical storytelling and exciting plot. I would recommend this to any who enjoys myths and legends, fantasy, or multicultural literature taking place in a new and exciting setting!
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